Richmond II: Bobby Labonte preview

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C., Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2004 -- The following are Chevy Rock and Roll 400 pre-race notes and quotes for Bobby Labonte, driver of the No. 18 Wellbutrin XL Chevrolet for Joe Gibbs Racing. CHEVY ROCK & ROLL 400 PRE-RACE...

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C., Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2004 -- The following are Chevy Rock and Roll 400 pre-race notes and quotes for Bobby Labonte, driver of the No. 18 Wellbutrin XL Chevrolet for Joe Gibbs Racing.

CHEVY ROCK & ROLL 400 PRE-RACE NOTES:

* Labonte will attempt to start his 24th race at Richmond International Raceway. He has never won at Richmond, but has an average finish of 3.6 in his last three races at the .75-mile track.

* In May 2004, Labonte started 27th and finished third. In the rain-shortened 2003 spring-race, Labonte started fourth and finished second behind winner Joe Nemechek and in the fall 2003 race Labonte started 16th and finished sixth.

* Labonte has four top-five and nine top-10 finishes in his 22 races at Richmond. All nine top-10's have come in the last 15 starts.

* Labonte has started in the top-10 in 48 percent of his starts at Richmond (11 of 23), including a streak of seven consecutive top-10 starts between spring 1999 and spring 2002. He won the first pole of his NEXTEL Cup career in Sept. 1993 at RIR, driving for Bill Davis Racing.

* Labonte has five top-five and nine top-10 finishes in 2004. He has not finished in the top 10 since a seventh-place finish July 3 at Daytona International Speedway.

* After finishing 20th at California, fell from ninth to 12th in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings, his lowest position since April 18 when he was 12th after finishing second in the Advance Auto Parts 500 at Martinsville Speedway. Labonte is 11 points behind 11th-place Jamie McMurray and 36 points behind 10th-place Mark Martin.

CHEVY ROCK & ROLL 400 PRE-RACE QUOTE:

BOBBY LABONTE (No. 18 Wellbutrin XL Chevrolet; 2000 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Champion): "It's pretty simple, really. We need a good run at Richmond to be in the Chase. If we run well, there's a good chance we'll be in, if we run like we have been, we'll be out. We've struggled through the last couple of months and are now in position where we have to finish well at Richmond in order to be in the top 10. We're still not sure why we're struggling, but everybody's working hard to try and turn it around. It's frustrating, but we've just got to keep working on it."

(About Richmond International Raceway): "We've run good there in the last few years and got a third in the spring. Hopefully, we'll get another good finish on Saturday night, when we really need it. It's always a Saturday night short-track shootout at Richmond, but, for us and some other guys the stakes are a little higher this time."

(About Joe Gibbs returns to the NFL this Sunday): "We're focused on what we need to do this Saturday, but it's a big weekend for Joe with the first game of the season the next day in Washington. Hopefully, we can get back in the top 10 on Saturday and Joe can win his first game back on Sunday. That'd make for a pretty good weekend for everyone."

-jgr-

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Series NASCAR-CUP